Donald Trump defends Islamophobia: "People who knocked down the World Trade Center didn't fly back to Sweden"

Trump endorsed the remark by a questioner in New Hampshire last week about Muslims being a problem in this country


Scott Eric Kaufman
September 28, 2015 4:50PM (UTC)

Republican front-runner Donald Trump spoke to "60 Minutes" about his feelings about Muslims, beginning with his remarks at a recent New Hampshire event in which he claimed that he's "going to be looking into" how to "get rid" of them.

Scott Pelley asked why he "let [it] pass" when a questioner at the town hall said that "we have a problem in this country -- and it's Muslims." Trump replied that that "was only part of what he said," and that "he went on to say other things."

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"But the bigotry part?" Pelley asked.

"Look, most of that question was about Obama," Trump replied, clearly unwilling to alienate his dwindling base by acknowledging that Islamophobia might be a bad thing. "I don't have to defend President Obama, he's not going to defend me."

"It was a testing moment for a man running for president," Pelley said.

"I don't think so!" Trump said.

"Here you had a bigot that you could have slapped down," Pelley said.

"You don't know that!" Trump replied. "He asked a question, you don't know that he's a bigot."

"'We have a problem in this country, and it's Muslims'" Pelley said, quoting the questioner.

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"Yes, there's a problem in this country and it's Muslims," Trump replied, seemingly endorsing the proposition. "Look, I have many, many Muslim friends, living in this building. Muslims, they're phenomenal people, but like everything else, you have people where there are problems."

"You can say there are no problems with the Muslims," he continued, "there's no problems, no terrorism, no crime, they didn't knock down the World Trade Center. You know, the people who knocked down the World Trade Center, they didn't fly back to Sweden."

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Watch the entire interview below via CBS News.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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